If you’ve only got average credit but want cash rewards and benefits like those usually only available on travel cards for people with good credit, the Credit One Bank American Express is an intriguing option. Competing cards offer bigger rewards, no annual fee, or a lower APR, but if you’re looking for a decent credit limit and a few extras, this low-maintenance card may be worthwhile.
A decent credit limit that may go up
Low cash-back rate
Annual fee and high APR
No welcome offer or promotional APR
- A decent credit limit that may go up: The card’s minimum credit limit of $500 is as good or higher than you’ll find on some competing cards. Plus, Credit One will automatically review your account, so if you establish a good track record, you could be eligible for an increase.
- Amex benefits: Cardholders get access to some of the perks American Express is best known for: hotel amenities, dining and shopping discounts, travel and purchase protections, and special access to concert tickets.
- Low cash-back rate: Getting 1% of all your purchases back in cash is better than nothing, but you can do better with some competitor cards.
- Annual fee and high APR: While annual fees are not unusual for cards marketed to people with bad to average credit, there are credit cards without one—even some with rewards. The APR is also on the high end, too, even among the suite of similar cards issued by Credit One.
- No welcome offer or promotional APR: With an unimpressive cash-back rate and an annual fee, it would be nice to get some up-front value or bonus on this card. Without it, the card becomes less appealing than even some secured cards.
Redeeming Points & Rewards
The Credit One Bank American Express Card is no fuss, but if you want to use your rewards for something else (or just hold cold hard cash in your hand), look for another card. There are no other redemption options beyond the automatic statement credit. You can’t request a check or buy gift cards like you can with many other rewards cards.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
Make the most of this card by keeping your spending in check and paying your bill in full each month, on time. If you do, you should eventually be rewarded with a higher credit limit from Credit One, and hopefully, a better credit score. Then, this card will have served its purpose, and you can shop around for cards that offer better value.
Credit score calculations weigh payment history and credit utilization (the amount of available credit you’re using) the most heavily. Don’t miss payments and aim to use no more than 30% of your overall credit limit.
In the meantime, use the card to book hotels, flights and rental cars through American Express’ travel site. You can get discounts of 2%-10% on Delta flights, up to 20% off on certain hotels, and up to 25% off on car rentals from major rental companies.
Credit One Bank Amex Card’s Excellent Perks
Credit cards may offer a wide variety of benefits, but some stand out for their exceptional value. Our editors have deemed one of this card’s benefits as, “excellent,” which is relatively rare for a card that targets people with average credit:
- Travel accident insurance: If your entire trip is paid for on your card, you’ll get accidental death or dismemberment coverage of up to $150,000 if there’s an accident while you’re traveling.
Credit One Bank Amex Card’s Other Features
Among the other features offered, some may be harder to find without an American Express card:
- Sports, music, and event ticket presales
- Discounts and special fares with certain travel partners
- Amex Offers (discounts on select purchases if you opt in)
- Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
- Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
- Refund when merchant won’t accept returned item
- Extended warranties
Credit One Bank scored quite poorly in J.D. Power’s 2019 credit card customer satisfaction survey, finishing last among 11 national card issuers. Credit One has a variety of customer service phone numbers, as well as a mobile app you can use to manage your account.
One nice service-related feature is that you can decide your payment due date. After you get your initial bill, just call customer service to choose a different due date that is at least six days before or after the originally assigned date. Also, cardholders have complimentary access to their Experian ScoreX credit score, a good feature for tracking progress as you look to strengthen your credit.
It can take up to 60 days to get access to your credit score through Experian ScoreX.
The Credit One Bank American Express Card has standard security features (zero fraud liability, fraud alerts, etc.)
Credit One Bank Amex Card’s Fees to Watch For
Besides the annual fee, the Credit One Bank American Express Card charges a $19 authorized user fee, and a fee for any foreign transactions (3% of your purchase or $1, whichever is greater). There isn’t a penalty APR, but given that the regular purchase APR is already high, it’s hardly a selling point.